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The Tavern Totty

Tavern on the Hill

Photo: J.M. Giordano, License: N/A

J.M. Giordano

Jeff Levy makes The Tavern Totty at Tavern on the Hill

Four toasty cocktails to keep you warm during the next polar vortex.

The Tavern Totty

Tavern on the Hill

900 Cathedral St., (410) 230-5400,

Jeff Levy, the bar manager at Tavern on the Hill, wasn’t too keen on offering a standard hot toddy, but he fielded so many requests for the classic cocktail that he felt compelled to come up with something. Levy was already concocting a lavender-honey-lemon syrup for a rum drink when he thought of using the same flavor profile in the classic tea-based nightcap. “You could use rail [whiskey] and you won’t taste the difference because the syrup drowns out a lot of the alcohol.” You can smell the Tavern Totty ($8) from across the bar, and a sip of it might throw you back to childhood—when your mom dumped loads of lemon and sugar into the teacup to smooth over the tea’s bitterness. All said and done, the drink—more warm than hot—contains unexpected cider notes, and tastes kind of like sweet tea crossed with a cough drop. The bourbon comes out in its warmth. This tweak on the hot toddy is deliberately simple, so it’s user-friendly for home bartenders. “Lavender syrup—that’s the only thing that will really change it; you can find that online,” Levy says. He uses regular Lipton tea in the Tavern Totty, though he recommends using a floral tea for those mixing at home.


1 ounce honey
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce lavender syrup
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 tea bag hot water
lemon garnish (optional)


Pour honey, syrup, lemon juice, lavender syrup, and bourbon into a mug. Add hot water, then tea bag. Let tea steep. Garnish with lemon.

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